‘Site fights’ in suburban downtowns pit change against tradition

Roofers work on the roof at the new Barrington Village Center along Main Street in downtown Barrington on May 5, 2015. Critics of the 31,000-square-foot development lament that it is pulling businesses from elsewhere in the suburb, causing vacancies. Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune

Roofers work on the roof at the new Barrington Village Center along Main Street in downtown Barrington on May 5, 2015. Critics of the 31,000-square-foot development lament that it is pulling businesses from elsewhere in the suburb, causing vacancies. Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune quotes Rachel Weber, GCI fellow and professor of urban planning and policy, on conflicts among residents who want to limit multifamily housing developments and density in their suburb and those who favor economic growth and want to limit sprawl. The article cites recent developments in Winnetka, Barrington and Clarendon Hills.

Rachel Weber, an urban planning and policy associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the conflicts that frequently erupt between pro- and anti-development factions pit residents fearful of any dramatic changes to their hometown against those who view new development as essential to a healthy local economy.

And when it comes to differences of opinion regarding major redevelopment proposals, even the closest of neighbors can find themselves bickering over backyard fences.

“Some people see increased residential density and less sprawl as good for the environment, promoting a healthy lifestyle and revitalizing a downtown by bringing in new pedestrians who can use public transportation and have less need for a car,” Weber said. “But these things can get shunted to the side by residents who see these new projects as a way for a developer to make money off their backs.”

Full Story from Chicago Tribune »

Share:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn